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IT Business Consultant: Job Description and Education Requirements

Nov 17, 2020

IT business consultants are employed to provide solutions and planning advice on an organization's data, communication or software systems. It is critical for these professionals to have experience in the worlds of business and IT management, often on top of a bachelor's degree in a related field. Job growth is expected to be much faster than average in the coming decade.

A businesswoman carrying out the duties of an IT business consultant.

IT Consultant Requirements

IT business consultants provide expertise and oversight for organizations in need of new technological solutions, including data networks and software platforms. Employers prefer a consultant who has completed a bachelor's degree program and has several years of industry experience.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in a subject related to computers, information technology or business
Other Requirements Several years of related experience typically preferred
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 7% for broad field of computer systems analysts
Median Salary (2019)* $90,920 for broad field of computer systems analysts

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

IT Business Consultant Job Description

What is the job description of an IT consultant? Information technology consultants provide analysis, advice and solutions for organizations that need to develop or improve their communication, data or software systems. They can also provide training for current employees. Job duties of IT business consultants vary by industry and specialty, but generally include performance assessments of a business' existing systems, strategic planning and implementation of the new system or process.

While many offer general expertise, it's common for IT consultants to specialize in a particular system or industry. For example, small businesses lacking the budget for a technology executive can contract an IT consultant to install data networks and provide maintenance and troubleshooting on an as-needed basis. Other consultants may specialize in providing technological solutions designed for specific industries, such as software platforms for healthcare facilities.

Education Requirements for IT Business Consultants

IT business consultants typically transition out of information systems management and executive positions, such as IT manager or Chief Information Officer (CIO). Most employers prefer applicants who have completed a bachelor's degree program in computer science, information technology or business. Coursework should include information management, systems analysis and computer programming languages. Completion of a master's degree program in a related field can enhance an applicant's chances of success as a consultant.

Though not a common requirement, acquiring and maintaining professional certifications can provide IT consultants with a competitive advantage by ensuring prospective employers or clients that they are knowledgeable and current with the latest technological developments and business philosophies. Technology vendors often provide these certification programs for their products, such as Cisco Systems' network designations or the certified Java developer certifications from Oracle. A business management or process certification, such as the Institute of Management Consultants USA, Inc.'s certified management consultant (CMC) designation, can also be advantageous.

Qualifications

What qualifications are necessary to get a job in IT and business consulting? There are few formal requirements that are universal for every IT consultant job description. However, IT consultants need to have experience in several areas in order to be successful in their job. First, IT consultants must have experience in information management and systems analysis which will help them manage large databases or information software programs. Familiarity with a variety of computer programming languages is also important, as programming can often be an important part of an IT consultant job. Many IT consultants also have firsthand experience working as an IT manager, and certifications like those described in the Education Requirements for IT Business Consultants section can help your application for an IT consultant position stand out.

Responsibilities

What are the responsibilities and duties of IT consultants? IT business consultants are responsible for managing, analyzing, and repairing a company's information storage system or software. They must become familiar with the software or information systems that their company uses to store data on customers, transactions, or products. Often, they will help others in the company learn how to use this system most effectively. When something goes wrong with the information system, IT consultants are also responsible for leading the diagnosis and repair process. Additionally, if the company or a client needs a new information system, the IT consultant may be involved with developing new software or modifying the existing software in order to meet the company's evolving needs.

Work Experience

Will you need work experience in order to get a job as an IT business consultant? Work experience is not a requirement to become an IT consultant, but it will help you perform better at your job and can make your application for an IT position stand out. Many IT consultants have prior work experience as an IT manager or a Chief Information Officer (CIO). IT consultants help advise people in these positions, so it is often helpful to have firsthand experience working in those roles before becoming an IT consultant. Often, IT consultants begin their careers in one of these other roles, and they are promoted to the role of IT consultant once they gain more experience and expertise. Work experience in other related fields like software programming can also be helpful for the role of IT consultant.

Skills Required

The duties of an IT business consultant require many different skills and abilities in order to be successful at the job. Here are some of the most important skills required to become an IT consultant:

  • Knowledge of Information Systems: Because IT business consultants spend a lot of time working with and analyzing information storage software, the ability to work with these systems is a crucial skill for the job.
  • Computer Coding: In many cases, IT business consultant jobs will require you to write computer code.
  • Analytical Thinking: IT business consultants must analyze information storage software in order to fix it or optimize it for a certain situation, both of which require analytical thinking.
  • Good Communication: IT business consultants may network and interact with a wide range of different people in a company. They must have effective communication skills to work well with all of these individuals.

Salary and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2019 that IT business consultants, also known as computer systems analysts, made a median annual salary of $90,920. The BLS projected that computer systems analysts would see a faster than average increase of 7% in employment opportunities over the 2019-2029 decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

IT Business consultants often have a background in management or technology, and can choose to specialize in a particular technological area. Professional certification is available in the field and through private vendors, and a bachelors' or master's degree are typically required. In 2019, IT business consultants, or computer systems analysts, earned a median annual salary of around $90,920.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much money does an IT business consultant make? IT business consultants made an average salary of $90,920 in 2019 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • What do IT business consultants do? IT business consultants work with companies to enhance or fix their information storage systems.
  • What qualifications are necessary to become an IT business consultant? This job has few formal qualifications, but experience with IT systems and computer coding are both important.
  • What skills will I need to become an IT consultant? In addition to experience working in IT and computer coding skills, you will need to think analytically and communicate effectively.
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